Journal of Forest Research

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 137–148 | Cite as

Factors determining the distribution of a keystone understory taxon, dwarf bamboo of the section Crassinodi, on a national scale: application to impact assessment of climate change in Japan

  • Ikutaro TsuyamaEmail author
  • Masahiro Horikawa
  • Katsuhiro Nakao
  • Tetsuya Matsui
  • Yuji Kominami
  • Nobuyuki Tanaka
Original Article


The objective of this study was to identify climatic factors determining the distribution of a keystone understory taxon, section Crassinodi of the genus Sasa, and assess the impacts of climate change on the taxon. Relationships between the distribution of sect. Crassinodi and five climatic variables were explored using classification tree analysis. Potential habitats under current climate and future climate in 2081–2100 were predicted. Potential habitats were further divided into suitable and marginal habitats. The predictive accuracy of the model was assessed using receiver operating characteristic analysis and by comparing model predictions with an independent dataset. The model was reasonably accurate. It showed that the warmth index (WI) and snow cover were the most important climatic variables for Crassinodi distribution. Potential habitats were limited to cooler regions with WI <102.7°C month. Suitable habitats were limited to even cooler regions with WI <84.8°C month. The model also showed that areas with deeper snow than previously reported would provide suitable habitats for Crassinodi under some climatic conditions. In 2081–2100, 37.4% of current potential habitats are predicted to become non-habitats because of increases in WI. Most currently suitable habitats are predicted to vanish from western Japan by 2081–2100. Meanwhile, Hokkaido and high-elevation areas of eastern Honshu will sustain suitable habitats. Sect. Crassinodi, which is adapted to less snowy climates, is predicted to be more affected by climate change than sect. Sasa and Macrochlamys, which are adapted to snowy climates.


Classification tree analysis Controlling factors Empty habitats Potential habitats Vulnerable habitats 



Warmth index


Mean of the daily minimum temperature of the coldest month


Summer precipitation


Maximum snow water equivalent


Winter rainfall


Suzuki’s distribution data


Phytosociological Relevé Data Base


Deviance-weighted score



We thank Dr Akira Kato and Dr Erin Conlisk for their useful comments and language help on the manuscript. We also thank two anonymous reviewers, Dr Toshichika Iizumi, Dr Mifuyu Ogawa, Ms Yuko Ogawa, Mr Hiromu Daimaru, Dr Masatsugu Yasuda, and Ms Etsuko Nakazono for their valuable comments on the study. This study was funded by a program of the Global Environmental Research of Japan (S-4 and S-8), the Ministry of the Environment.

Supplementary material

10310_2011_283_MOESM1_ESM.eps (160 kb)
Fig. S1 Horizontal distributions of sect. Crassinodi based on the SDD generated from Suzuki (1978). Green boxes show the presence of sect. Crassinodi. The spatial resolution is about 10km. (EPS 159 kb)


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Copyright information

© The Japanese Forest Society and Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ikutaro Tsuyama
    • 1
    Email author
  • Masahiro Horikawa
    • 2
  • Katsuhiro Nakao
    • 1
  • Tetsuya Matsui
    • 3
  • Yuji Kominami
    • 4
  • Nobuyuki Tanaka
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Plant EcologyForestry and Forest Products Research InstituteTsukubaJapan
  2. 2.Toyota Biotechnology and Afforestation LaboratoryToyota Motor CorporationAichiJapan
  3. 3.Hokkaido Research StationForestry and Forest Products Research InstituteSapporoJapan
  4. 4.Kansai Research CenterForestry and Forest Products Research InstituteKyotoJapan

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